Can 8Hour Forensic Spacewalk Solve Galactic Whodunit

first_img Russia’s Humanoid Robot Returns Safely to EarthCIMON Returns to Earth After 14 Months on ISS Stay on target STABBY STAB— Loren Grush (@lorengrush) December 11, 2018NASA and Roscosmos agreed to “defer any preliminary conclusions … until the final investigation has been completed.”Prokopyev, Gerst, and NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor are scheduled to depart the station in the Soyuz MS-09 on Dec. 19, returning to Earth after a six-and-a-half-month mission.More on Poo Images From NASA Reveal Antarctic Ecosystem Changes‘Beam’ Your Support to New Horizons Ahead of Historic FlybyNASA’s Voyager 2 Probe Reaches Interstellar Spacecenter_img Wielding sharp knives and what looked like garden shears, two Russian spacewalkers this week examined a mysterious hole in a Soyuz craft, docked on the International Space Station.Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Prokopyev cut samples of material around the tiny dimple, first identified in August, when the two-millimeter cavity caused an air leak at the ISS.During a difficult spacewalk (that lasted nearly eight hours), the cosmonauts managed to cut away insulation covering the hole, taking photos and collecting residue for analysis.A new thermal blanket has been placed over the area.Over the summer, flight controllers in Houston and Moscow noticed a drop in pressure on the ISS; an exposure was discovered in a side compartment of the Soyuz MS-09, which docked at the orbiting lab in June.At the time, European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst reportedly confirmed the puncture—thought to be the result of a micrometeoroid—by running his hand over it (some even say he plugged it with a finger).The Expedition 56 crew then MacGyvered the hole from inside the station, initially using heat-resistant tape, and later a sealant and gauze cloth.The dent has since become a point of contention between the United States and Russia, as Russian media speculated that a NASA astronaut deliberately sabotaged the spacecraft.“It was done by a human hand,” Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russian space agency Roscosmos, told the TASS news agency in September. “There are traces of a drill sliding along the surface. We don’t reject any theories.”While he is willing to admit it could have been a manufacturing error, Rogozin isn’t ruling out vandalism—fueled by a theory that a NASA astronaut was the culprit.last_img

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